How to Prepare for Leaving Your Dog at Home While at Work
Below are a few puppy steps you’ll need to take before you ever leave your pooch at home alone.
Determine where your dog will stay while you’re gone, and make it as cozy as possible. Some dogs can be trusted to have free reign of the whole house, while others might need to be limited to a single room. Wherever your dog roams, make sure they have access to their comfort zone, whether it’s a kennel, bed or, in the great outdoors, a doghouse.
The comfort zone is a place for dogs to sleep and feel secure. If you have a puppy, make sure their comfort zone is far away from their puppy pads or grass pads – you don’t want to mix bedroom and bathroom.
When you’re at home, make sure your woof spends lots of time in their safe space so they will feel completely comfurrtable in it when you’re gone.
Impawtant Note: While it’s common for dogs to sleep in crates at night, we don’t recommend that you keep your dog in a crate for more than a couple hours during the day. Before you go back to the office, make sure your dog is fully potty trained so they do not have to stay in a crate at all while you’re gone.
2. Get Your Paws on the Necessities
Your doggo has to stay hydrated and fed when they’re alone! Make sure your dog has a large bowl that can be filled with a day’s worth of drinking water. Some pawrents prefer a no-spill bowl to avoid messes and thirsty pets.
When you go back to the office, you might chews to feed your dog before you head to work in the morning and serve up their dinner after you come home in the evening. If that’s not the case, it’s a good idea to get an automatic feeder so you can control when and how much Fido eats.
You might be able to leave out a bowl of food for your dog to munch on all day, but this can lead to overeating and other negative behaviors. While you’re still working from home, try out different feeding tactics to see what works best for you and your dog!
Your pup will also need entertainment throughout the workday! Some toys they might love include:
- KONG toys, which keep your dog occupied as they try to sink their teeth into a treat!
- DIY snuffle mats provide mental and physical stimulation for dogs, and they’re great for crafty and/or thrifty dog owners.
- Food-free toys, like the Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel, are a nice choice for dogs who need to watch their weight!
- A good, old-fashioned, almost-empty jar of peanut butter is a fur fan favorite – as long as it doesn’t contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
While they’re not an essential item, many pet pawrents are big fans of pet cams, which are basically fur baby monitors. You can use these cameras to see what your pup is up to while you’re away and make sure they’re doing okay without you.
Some cameras even have two-way audio and video, so your dog can see and hear you. This allows you to call them out on their bad behavior or comfort them when they’re showing stress! If you’re shifting from being with your pet all day to being separated for hours at a time, a pet cam might be a good investment.
Take a trip to the pet store as soon as pawsible, so you’ll have all the supplies you and your fur baby will need later.
3. Practice Being Lone Woofs
While your dog can eat cold turkey, they can’t be left alone cold turkey! Your fur family will have to ease into independence. Start by leaving the house for about thirty minutes every day for a week. When you come home, act normal and allow your dog to settle, then reward them with love and treats! If your dog responds well to thirty minutes of alone time, begin adding more minutes and then hours to the clock.
Along with practicing independence, you’ll also need to practice following a schedule. If you’ve been working from home, your days have probably been quite flexible. Going back into the office will change things for you and your dog!
Even while you’re still working from home, try to follow a set schedule with your dog. Make bathroom breaks, feedings and play happen at the specific times they would occur if you were working in the office. This will help prepare Fido for when you actually do go back to the office and aren’t available at his bark and call!